Notes on the eight basic elements of Religion


Every religion has certain elements. Some of the elements are mentioned below:

1. Belief in Supernatural Powers:

Every religion believes in the existence of some supernatural powers or forces. Some consider this supernatural power as formless. They believe that this unseen power influences every aspect of human life. Belief in the supernatural powers varies from one religion to another. Hindus believe in the existence of number of gods and goddess. They are called polytheists. Some people believe is only one god. They are called monotheists.


2. Belief in the holy or sacred:

In every religion there are certain things which are regarded as holy and sacred. They constitute the heart of religion. The concept of holy and sacred is a mental construct. They are symbols. They all are not visible. They symbolies both the unseen and tangible things. It is a belief based on faith rather than evidence. For example, in Hindu religion cow is sacred because of the faith of the Hindus.

3. System of Rituals:

Rituals are the practical side of religion. They are the behavior performed by the individual or a group of individuals with reference to supernatural power. It includes varieties of behavior such as wearing of special types of cloth, reciting prayers, hymns, taking birth in holy rivers, singing, dancing, crawling, fasting etc. Thus the area covered by religious ritual is very wide. It may be performed by a single individual or group of individuals. They sometimes manifest in the form of ceremony or festival. A Hindu may perform some rites alone or take part in kirtan or Bhajanas. A Muslim may do Namaz alone or with the collectivity in a Mosque. A Christian may offer a flower to Jesus Christ or seats for prayer in the church etc. AH these rituals either performed individually or collectively are intended to strengthened individual’s faith in the supernatural power.


4. Sinful acts:

Every religion defines certain acts as sacred or righteous and other acts as profane and sinful. The follower of the religion encourages sacred acts and insists to avoid indulging in sinful activities. Acting in accordance with the religious principles is believed to reap good results while sinful acts result suffering or disaster. Most of the religions conceptualize heaven and hell due to this belief.

5. The method of salvation:

All most all the religion considers salvation as the ultimate goal of life. They have their own explanation regarding the method of salvation. The Buddhists called salvation as Nirvana or mingle with the God. For the Hindus it is ‘Mukti’ i.e. free from the chain of life cycle etc.


6. Mode of worship:

Each religion has a specific procedure of worshiping. The followers of different religion either worship the supernatural power in the form of statue or a formless manner. They differ from each other in motor activities. Hindus, for example, worship idols, Muslims do not. Hindus worship with folded hands while Muslims unfolded etc.

7. Liturgy and ideology:

Different religion practice public relations rites and rituals in fixed form and they also have specific ideology. The ideology may be handed down with an oral tradition or written tradition.


8. Place of worship:

Each religion has a definite place of worship. The Hindu worship in a Temple, Muslims in a Mosque, Christians in Church etc.

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